Martin Truex Jr. added to his record as the most successful driver of the past five years with his second place finish behind Kyle Larson in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series championship race in Phoenix.
It’s something that doesn’t get a ton of recognition, which is understandable with Larson’s big 10-game winning season – including the Coca-Cola 600 and the Bristol Night Race. Additionally, Larson has won major gravel races in sprint cars, midgets and late models, showing versatility unmatched by any other NASCAR race.
Truex, who won over Larson in the closing laps of Sunday’s race, was the Cup Series’ most consistent rider. In the past five years, he has won the 2017 NASCAR Championship, has been a three-time runner-up and has taken 24 victories.
Not bad for a guy who only had two wins in the first 10 years of his career.
Obviously, like Larson, a major change for Truex has been an equipment upgrade. Truex joined Furniture Row Racing in 2015 after Kurt Busch took the team’s performance to a new level. When the # 78 Toyota team closed after the 2018 season, Truex and team leader Cole Pearn joined the powerful Joe Gibbs Racing organization.
They picked up where they left off with seven wins in 2019. Truex won only once in 2020 with new team manager James Small, but he tied Alex Bowman with four wins, just behind. Larson, this season.
Truex has at least 13 top five and 20 top 10 in each of the past five seasons. The New Jersey native even passed his Toyota teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin in the winning column. Busch has 21 wins and Hamlin has 17 in the past five seasons.
Kevin Harvick, after a year without a win in 2021, ranks second overall behind Truex with 23 wins in the past five seasons. Brad Keselowski is next among the Ford drivers with 14 wins and Joey Logano, the 2018 champion, has 10 wins over the period.
Despite the absence of the 2020 season, Larson leads the Chevy contingent with 14 wins since 2017. That’s one more than the total produced by his teammate Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott.
The lonely pine racetrack
Jason Ketron drove his red # 26A Honda to victory in last Saturday’s Pure 4 War race at Lonesome Pine Speedway.
The Kingsport rider took home the winner’s purse of $ 3,050 after 100 laps on the 3/8 mile asphalt oval. Another Kingsport driver, William Hale, finished second in his No.47 Chevrolet. Johnson City rider Brandon Sutherland won pole and finished third.
John Ketron, the race winner’s father, was fourth with Chris Neeley completing the top five. There were 38 drivers who tried to qualify for the 30 car main event.